ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
AP photo by David Zalubowski / Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith reacts after getting Colorado Rockies pinch-hitter Garrett Hampson to ground into a double play to end Thursday night's game in Denver.

DENVER — Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer in a three-run fifth inning for the Atlanta Braves, who overcame a grand slam by Charlie Blackmon to beat the Colorado Rockies 6-5 on Thursday night.

Jorge Soler also homered and Austin Riley hit a two-run double for Atlanta, which took the opener of a four-game series after losing three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves also stayed two games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East Division, where Atlanta is the three-time reigning champion.

Five Atlanta relievers combined for six scoreless innings after Touki Toussaint struggled. Jacob Webb (2-2) got six outs for the win, and Will Smith worked the ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances this year.

Braves manager Brian Snitker liked what he saw from his club after being swept by the Dodgers, who share the NL West lead with the San Francisco Giants and are tied with them for the best record in Major League Baseball at 85-49.

"They tend to their business, they come to play and they prepare and they play the game at hand," Snitker said of this year's Braves. "They don't look behind them or ahead. They focus on today. I always preach that. These guys do a really good job of staying in the moment and playing today's game."

Smith surrendered a leadoff single to Ryan McMahon before striking out Elias Díaz and coaxing pinch-hitter Garrett Hampson into a game-ending double play.

The Braves went ahead to stay with three runs in the fifth. Freddie Freeman led off with a double against Yency Almonte (1-3). Freeman advanced on Riley's single and scored on Dansby Swanson's sacrifice fly.

Duvall then hit a drive to deep left for his 30th homer of the season, lifting Atlanta to a 6-5 lead.

"That's one of my strengths, hitting for power and driving in runs," said Duvall, who is in his second stint with the Braves after being acquired from the Miami Marlins at the July 30 trade deadline in exchange for catcher Alex Jackson. "That's something I need to continue to do. That's definitely one of the things I try to hone in on and focus on and work on."

Soler homered in the first inning off Chi Chi Gonzalez, who started in place of Jon Gray, sidelined by tightness in his right forearm. Riley's two-run double in the third gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

But the Rockies broke through for five runs in their half of the third against Toussaint. Díaz was hit by a pitch and then was safe at second on the pitcher's errant throw after gathering in Gonzalez's fielder's choice. Connor Joe followed with an RBI single and Brendan Rodgers also singled to load the bases ahead of Blackmon's fourth grand slam of his MLB career.

Gonzalez went 3 2/3 innings and gave up three runs and four hits. He walked four and struck out one.

"I thought his stuff was fine," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "The ball-strike ratio wasn't great. He wasn't as sharp as we've seen him. The Braves, they have some power. They have the ability to do some damage."

Duvall displayed exceptional glove work in center field in addition to his dynamic bat. He ran down Joe's deep drive, making a leaping catch against the wall for the final out of the seventh inning.

"I knew it was hit well, so I turned around, put my head down and ran to the wall," Duvall said. "When I caught it, I didn't think I was on the wall, but I ended up closer than I thought it was."

The Braves placed right-handed pitcher Chris Martin on the 10-day injured list because of right elbow inflammation. It's his second stint this season on the IL, having missed 30 games from April 10 to May 12 due to right shoulder inflammation. Left-hander Sean Newcomb was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT